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A Complete Breakdown Of SEO & PPC – Which Is Better For Your Business?

A Complete Breakdown Of SEO & PPC – Which Is Better For Your Business

If you are here reading this, you have probably pondered the question, “Which is better – SEO or PPC?” over a thousand times in your mind. This is not something one can directly answer as neither SEO nor PPC is better or worse. Whether you should use SEO or go for PPC advertising depends on your business needs, situation and objectives, what your competitors are using, and the marketplace. Both SEO and PPC have pros and cons. Even though SEO, when done well, brings more organic traffic at a cheaper cost, it’s not always the case. For instance, new and small businesses can face several problems getting started with SEO and organic results as SEO is a slow process and takes time. Whereas PPC can prove to be a much better option for them. But then again, it all depends on your business needs and marketing strategy.

To help you decide what’s best for you, we will break down SEO and PPC – what they are, their pros and cons, and which can be more effective for your business to provide you with a better understanding of both. You will read about:

  •         What is SEO?
  •         What is PPC?
  •         Basic elements of SEO and PPC
  •         Pros and Cons of SEO and PPC
  •         SEO vs. PPC – Which is better?

What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

Search Engine Optimization or SEO is the process of optimizing your website and landing pages so that they rank the highest among the search engine’s organic results. Doing SEO in the right way can help you surpass your competitors and rank at the topmost position on search engine result pages (SERPs). SEO can be a good start for your business if you are looking for a free but time-taking option to drive organic traffic.

What is Pay-Per-Click (PPC)?

With PPC, advertisers don’t pay for placing an ad but they have to pay only when a visitor clicks on their ad. There are several PPC platforms to place their ads and reach potential customers. A few of the best PPC platforms include Google Ads, Bing Ads, YouTube, Facebook, etc. With an effective PPC campaign, your ad will crawl over all the organic results and appear at the top of the Google SERP but this traffic will be paid.

Basic Elements of SEO

Search Engine Optimization revolves around these areas:

1.      Keyword Research

The first step for an effective SEO strategy is to conduct keyword research. It is all about understanding the search terms and keywords your target audience uses to search for related products, services, content, etc. It is important to carry out comprehensive keyword research to understand what words and phrases customers might use when searching on Google or other search engines. For this, you will have to brainstorm a list of “Seed Keywords.” These are simply the search terms you think customers will use to search for something on a search engine. Enter these seed keywords in an SEO keyword research tool like Ahrefs Keywords Explorer, SEMrush, Moz Keyword Explorer, Google Keyword Planner, SpyFu, etc. You will get a list of related keywords and search terms used by people searching on search engines.

2.      On-Page SEO

On-page SEO is all about writing content while keeping the searchers’ search intent in mind. It is important because this is exactly the type of content searchers want to see when they come across your website or landing page. When done right, on-page SEO can help you get the best results and a higher ranking on the search engine results page. It involves:

  •         Writing an engaging title – not too long nor too short.
  •         Writing a clear and concise Meta description.
  •         Carefully using relevant keywords in the title, headlines – H1, H2, H3, H4, Meta descriptions and throughout the content.
  •         Optimizing images.
  •         Keeping the URLs short yet descriptive to make them SEO-friendly.

Implementing these practices is important so that when Google or other search engines crawl your website, they will immediately understand what your website is all about. Search engines will rank your website at a higher position if they deem it trustworthy and valuable for users.

3.      Off-Page SEO

Just as it is important to work on your on-page SEO, it is equally important to optimize your off-page or off-site SEO. Taking actions outside your website to show search engines why your website is worthy of a higher rank within the search engine results pages (SERPs) is called off-page SEO. The methods and techniques that will improve your website ranking include:

  •         Backlinks or Inbound links

Building high-quality backlinks is an important part of off-site SEO as they are proof or votes from other websites about the reliability of your website content. The more high-value inbound links you have, the more will be the chances of getting a higher rank.

  •         Social Media Sharing

Sharing content on social media is also one of the most effective techniques of off-page SEO.

  •         Guest Posting

Guest posting or guest blogging is writing and publishing content for blogs on other websites to get more exposure and backlinks, of course. Guest posts are a great source to build the finest quality and natural backlinks, get more traffic, and increase brand awareness to attract new customers.

Other important factors for off-page SEO include influencer marketing, Google My Business (GMB) profiles, business directories, brand mentions – both linked and unlinked in different articles and all, internal linking, reviews, etc.

4.      Technical SEO

Technical SEO is all about making sure that your website meets all the technical requirements to get the highest rank on the search engine results page and improving your website if it doesn’t fulfill the required technical aspects. In short, it deals with your website and server optimization so that search engines can effectively crawl, understand, and index your website. For better website optimization, it is important to check indexing to determine which pages are not indexed, find out why they are not indexed, and see what you can do to index them. Ensure your website offers only the best user experience to visitors and is mobile-friendly. Also, frequently check your website’s health and general maintenance.

Basic Elements of Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

1.      Keyword Research

You have to conduct comprehensive keyword research just like you will have to do for SEO. Keywords here are again the words, phrases, and search terms your potential customers search for on search engines. Keep in mind that keywords for PPC campaigns need to depict buyer intent. Buyer intent keywords and search terms show that users are interested in your products and services. However, if you sell products or offer any services, and your keywords have search intent, you will get more traffic and clicks, but it will only cost you more money because people will land on your website without intending to buy anything.

2.      Bidding Strategy & Setting

It is crucial to develop a sound strategy for bids if you are running a PPC campaign. You can decide how much you are willing to pay for clicks. PPC marketing platforms like Google Ads allow you to adjust bids but increasing and decreasing bids determine how often your ads will be shown on the search engine results pages. In Google Ads, bid adjustment is a specific term to describe the percentage adjustment (increase/decrease) of your bids.

3.      Targeting

One can’t underestimate the targeting capabilities of PPC marketing. When it comes to bringing your brand in front of potential customers, there are not many options provided by SEO. However, with PPC your ads can be targeted by keywords, time, day of the week, geography and location, language, age, gender, income, devices, and the list goes on.

4.      A/B Testing

If you have several ideas for landing page design and content, ad copy, CTAs, and several other things in general and aren’t sure which idea will deliver better results, you can test two variables against each other to determine what works best for you. This process is called split testing or A/B testing and is one of the best things about PPC marketing.

Pros and Cons of SEO and PPC

Pros of SEO

1.      SEO is cost-effective

SEO is cheaper compared to PPC even though you will have to pay for SEO premium tools, SEO Managers, and executives, or if you have hired SEO agencies or freelancers, it is still cheaper than paid marketing in the long term. This is mainly because once you have created optimized content for your website and have optimized your website to get higher rankings, there is no need to spend more money to make your target audience see your content and landing page. You will continue to get organic traffic without paying for it.

2.      Long-term, high-quality, and relevant traffic

SEO will drive high-quality traffic with more staying power. If your keywords help you get a higher rank on Google or other search engines, you will continue to get traffic to your website.

3.      Brand Awareness

With SEO, your website will stay on top of the search engine results page. This means more people will come across your website when searching for related words and phrases.

4.      Trust and Credibility

Seeing your website on top of a search engine results page develops a sense of trust and credibility as most visitors skip ads and trust organic results more. When they see your website on top of organic results, this ultimately proves to them that you are a reliable source. Being visible gives your brand the approval it needs for people to trust you more.

5.      Helps you generate better ROI

As SEO is free, there is an opportunity for you to generate more return on investment. The ROI is even better than paid media.


Cons of SEO

1.      Time-consuming and late results

Even though SEO is cheaper compared to PPC, it takes time to get results and a higher rank on the search engine results pages (SERPs) because doing your website’s SEO and setting up everything takes time. SEO may not be for you if you need faster results or don’t have the patience to wait long.

2.      Unique and authoritative content

Want to generate more leads and sales for your newly launched business? Would you rather risk doing everything yourself or hire a digital marketing agency like WhiteGlove PPC? You are most likely to hire a digital marketing agency because of its expertise. The same is the case with SEO, people don’t want to deal with rookie websites and content. On the contrary, they are looking to get in touch with experts. Your content will decide whether you are a pro or not. This is why you need to ensure the content on your website is unique and authoritative. While it’s not a con, it is hard to keep up with and maintain unique and authoritative content that shows you are a subject matter expert.

3.      Changes in ranking and algorithms

Shifts in rankings and algorithms are some of the major concerns when it comes to SEO. All the traffic you get on your website depends on your ranking. The higher you rank, the more traffic your website will get. However, if your ranking drops for any reason, you will most likely face a drop in traffic. There could be several reasons why your website ranking can drop:

  •         Frequent updates and changes in the search engine algorithm.
  •         Unnatural or dubious link building.
  •         Poor website maintenance or technical errors.


Pros of PPC

1.      Provides instant results

PPC will help you get faster results. Launching a campaign on any PPC platform will deliver instant results. If you are looking to promote a product in less time, launch a PPC campaign and you will see results immediately.

2.      Several targeting options

If you want to show your ads and website to potential customers, know that PPC provides a range of targeting options. Your ads can be targeted based on keywords, demographics, location, language, time, day of the week, customer interests, etc. This shows that with PPC, you only pay for the people you wish to see on your landing page or website.

3.      Top of the page ranking

One of the biggest advantages is that your ad will leap over all the organic results and appear at the top of the search engine results page (SERPs).

(Note: Your ad may not always appear at the top of the SERPs. Depending on several factors, your ads will appear at the top or the very bottom of the search engine results page below all the organic results).

4.      More control

You will get more control over your ads, campaigns, and account in general with PPC. Unlike SEO, PPC ad platforms are dynamic and versatile. You have an opportunity to include and control several aspects. Moreover, having several targeting options also allows you to be in control of most situations. It’s up to you where you want to send the traffic, which landing page you want to use, when to adjust the bids and budget, and conduct A/B tests to determine what works best for you and what doesn’t. Apart from these, many other things will help you gain control.

5.      Brand Awareness

While it’s true that you can rank at a higher position on the SERPs with SEO but that doesn’t mean your website will rank at the topmost position because there will always be an ad on top of all organic results on a search engine results page. This means people will get to know more about your brand before they stumble on an organic result. Besides, with PPC, you also have the option to launch a remarketing campaign and run display ads on websites within the Google Display Network (GDN) to attract past website visitors and new audiences as well.

6.      Buyer intent clicks

The number of clicks on an ad in PPC campaigns may not be irrelevant as most of them are buyer oriented. This is because the keywords you target will not have a search intent. Whether your ad will appear in front of users or not depends on the searcher’s intent. If a customer is using buyer-oriented keywords when searching on Google, the chances of them seeing your ads will increase. This means that your ad will be shown to relevant audiences who are interested in buying your products and services, which in turn will result in relevant clicks.


Cons of PPC

1.      PPC is expensive

There is no doubt that PPC is more expensive than SEO. It is like you will have to pay more to earn more. Unlike SEO and organic traffic, you will have to pay for every ad click, and depending on the industry, the cost per click or CPC can be very expensive. Besides, getting more traffic does not guarantee sales as you need to have high conversion rates.

2.      There is a lot to learn

Yes. PPC may be fast but it’s not a piece of cake and it isn’t overnight’s work. You will have to keep up with several things including keywords, negative keywords, ads, ad groups, campaigns, bids, budget, ROAS, CPA, CPC, CTR, and the list goes on. Digging into PPC can be exhausting and you can lose a lot of money if you do things on your own when you have just started. This is why it is better to hire a digital marketing agency like WhiteGlove PPC to get instant results.

3.      Short-term effectiveness

PPC campaigns need to be constantly optimized and they can become less effective in the longer run. This is because people see your ads too often – with the same ad copy and message and they get tired of seeing them over and over again. Ad blindness exists and people consciously or subconsciously ignore ads if they see them too often and everywhere. Furthermore, they will also use ad blockers if they feel annoyed by your ads. This is why it is important to rejuvenate your ads and campaigns. You can also create new ads to provide users with refreshing ad copy.

4.      Trust Issues

Not everyone is indeed ready to accept PPC ads because of trust, credibility, and reliability issues. Most users ignore ads and go for organic results because of the fear of clickbait. It is important to ensure your landing page is the continuation of your ad copy and offers what the ad promises in order to build trust among your targeted customers. Your ad copy should be convincing but there is no need to include false information to grasp customers.

SEO vs. PPC – Which is more effective?

At the end of the day, it all comes down to which is better, SEO or PPC? The fact is we can’t say SEO is better and PPC sucks or vice versa. Both are valid sources of traffic and as we said before, it all depends on your business needs. You can either use SEO or PPC or even both of them together to get the best results.

When should you use PPC?

    If you are a new business just getting started in the corporate world, it is better to use PPC to get immediate results.

  •         You are about to launch a new product or service. Here again, PPC will prove to be more effective as it will take more time with SEO to first set everything up and then wait for the results.
  •         You want to promote a huge one-time offer, sale, or event and need immediate traffic.
  •         You want to drive traffic to your website in the short term.
  •         You have a decent marketing budget and want to make the most of it.

When should you use SEO?

  • If you are an established business and most people already know about you.
  • You share informational content only.
  • You want to sell your website.
  • You want to drive traffic to your website in the long term.
  • You are low on budget.

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